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Old 04-30-2008, 08:02 AM   #1
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A Matter of Opinion or a fact?

Yesterday I went for a tour of the Culinary Academy of Long Island. I loved the school and though it to be very nice and helpful in the info it provided. Now though, as I sit back and reflect one thing bothers me. While it is an accredited college and provides job placement into excellent restaurants in
the area ( The Food Network, Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill, Mario Batali's Otto, etc.) the programs they offer is not a degree program. At the end of 9 months (600 hours, 400 instruction 200 internship at a restaurant) they give you a certificate saying you passed the courses.

I don't know if thats like cheating. Would I still be a proper chef if I didnt have an associates or even better, a bachelor's degree from a school? What do you guys think? How many of the members on DC are professional chefs, sous chefs, etc.?

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Old 04-30-2008, 09:16 AM   #2
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Am not a chef. But have never been in a restaurant where the degrees of the chefs were displayed.

However, you want the best, and most prestigious, training you can get to get into the industry.

What that is, I do not know. But you should learn about it.

If you can talk to chefs do so. I believe many would give you a few minutes if you asked. Just don't ask them during service.

Use the web, there are many cooking sites for professional chefs. Ask questions.

Before you commit to something that may or not be ideal, you need information.

Spend some time accumulating it. And then make your decision based upon knowledge.

There are decisions I have made when with a bit more information I might have made a better choice.

A bit of research now might be worth the effort.
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Old 04-30-2008, 09:35 AM   #3
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Not all culinary schools are degree awarding institutions. An associates or bachelors degree reguires coursework outside the realm of "food" including English composition, math, science, foreign language etc. The CIA is the only fully accredited culinary college awarding a Bachelors of Professional Studies. There are many others that do award associates degrees such as Johnson and Wales University. Many State Universities have culinary programs as part of their Arts or Hospitality schools. So there are many directions to take.

Does a chef need a college degree? Or even a culinary school certificate? No. But in today's world, professional accreditation is more and more important. So it is certainly a sound career move. Your certificate from "wherever" is as good as the effort you put into it. Your passion for the field will prove it and you to be of value.
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Old 04-30-2008, 10:19 AM   #4
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The way I learned it, is that a "chef" is technically a manager. "Chef", in French, translates to "chief" in English, and is used to designate the person(s) that manage the operation of a kitchen.

Take me, for example. I attended a Culinary Arts program at a nearby college. I was unable to graduate due to financial reasons. However, I took what I did learn, and applied that to my job. I was already working in a restaurant. I have worked in several restaurants, as well as moved into a different state, then back to Oklahoma. I have worked in just about every position in a kitchen, hot foods, cold foods, banquet prep, line cook, short-order cook (in a snack-shop out on the golf course), etc. I help write weekly specials, and even get new food items put on the menu (just got a new sandwich on our Spring Menu, which goes live either TODAY or tomorrow).

Does this make me a chef? NO! I'm not a manager. Heck, I'm not even a supervisor. We only have two Chef's in my kitchen, the Exec. Chef, and the Sous Chef.

Now, turn the table upside-down. Imagine a small, family-run type restaurant. You have a crew that knows their job(s). They've been there for years. You have a "kitchen manager" that oversees the operation of the kitchen. This person is technically the Chef. Does that person have a degree from an accredited school? Maybe, maybe not. Does that person have a lot of experience in running that kitchen? Yes.

In answer to your question, yes, you can become a "Chef" without a degree, or even any kind of formal "schooling" in the industry. However, the more, and better education you can get, the better off you'll be. It might be a good idea to start at the school you mentioned, to get some training under your belt, then get a job in the industry. After that, you can decide if you want to attend a school that will actually let you earn a degree. If I remember right, CIA in Hyde Park won't accept students that don't have experience in the field already, and I think it's two years experience.

There are many other professionals that are members of this website. Hopefully they will their point(s) of view as well.
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Old 04-30-2008, 11:09 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo410 View Post
Not all culinary schools are degree awarding institutions. An associates or bachelors degree reguires coursework outside the realm of "food" including English composition, math, science, foreign language etc. The CIA is the only fully accredited culinary college awarding a Bachelors of Professional Studies. There are many others that do award associates degrees such as Johnson and Wales University.
Johnson and Wales awards both Associates and Bachelors degrees.
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